What you buy should depend on your personal listening preferences.
Speakers selection have always been a personal decision.
While all of the above recommendations are admirable, they are valid only from the posters’ point of view.
No one is qualified to recommend speakers without first qualifying your needs. However, guidance as far as brand selection may provide useful input to those not familiar with today’s audio choices.
The industry standard calls for speakers that are “faithful”. That is, speakers that can accurately reproduce the signal processed by the amplifier [B]WITHOUT[/B] changing the characteristics of the sound. No sound coloration, no excessive frequency exaggerations.
The standards also calls for tone controls on the amplifier to be set in a neutral (flat) position. Assuming that the above criteria is adhered to, the speakers should faithfully produce a “flat”, “faithful” sound.
Unfortunately, this is not the preference for most listeners. Hence the varied recommendations.
Speaker performance varies dramatically with different amplifiers as well as room acoustics. Tone controls are generall used to compensate for these varying differences.
Ask yourself a few questios before you begin your questions:
What do you want from the speakers?
Faithfullness, boom, exaggerated highs, great imaging, superior soundstage reproduction, invisibility, show piece, etc,.
What will be the general application for the speakers? Home Theater or critical audio listening?
eg. Martin Logan speakers are great for the dynamics required for Home Theater listening but will not match the accuracy from B&W speakers for critical audio listening.
What are the acoustical properties of the room in which the speakers will be placed and how is the room furnished?
Is the room carpeted or does it have hardwood floors?
eg. Klipsh speakers are never recommended for hardwood floors as the manufacturer employs an exaggerated high frequency boost to compensate for the lack of presence in the speaker components.
Consider the size of the speakers in relation to possible placement in the room. Do not be suckered into large speakers if they do not meet your needs. A modestely sized speaker system can easily out perform some large speakers when complemented by a properly placed subwoofer.
Consider the room layout, as it general determines speaker size and placement.
Consider room decor, if you want to minimize static from your wife.
Speaker performance can vary with amplier output. Watts is not the only determining factor for amplifier power as there are no standards for measuring the output power for amplifiers.
High Current amplifiers will generall promote better speaker performance. That is one reason why most people complain that the speakers always sound better in the showrooms. Sales people will [B]ALWAYS[/B] demo with a decent amplifier as they will show off the product.
Most importantly, as mentioned above, shop only with retailers that have a liberal return policy. This will allow to to return any speaker system that did not audition well in your house.
Speaker selection is the toughest decision one has to endure in putting together a system.
After all, no other system component affects the overall sound as much as the speakers do.
Finally, let your ears be the judge!!!
These are your speakers.